Information need to support distribution activities - a case study of the whole chain
Paper in proceedings, 2007
Information exchange between suppliers and customers has been extensively researched in recent years and some research has included logistics providers. Typically, the research gives results on a conceptual level, not giving any details of the data exchange or information needs typically found in many supply chains today. Such a mapping is the necessary starting point for any assessment of an open loop goods identification technology implementation and also a first step toward defining the future services of any supply chain. To achieve such a model, a mapping between the information flows in the transportation setup and the activities carried out in it must be made.
This work describes the information needs coupled with activities in a transportation setup that involves a loop of special containers for washer fluid (dangerous goods), going from Sweden to Belgium and back again. To model the information necessary for each activity, an in-depth, exploratory single-case study of the transportation setup with return carriage was conducted and does include the full chain. Observations and complimentary interviews were carried out throughout the chain. In order to model the logistics activities and the associated information flow, the Supply Chain Council’s Supply Chain Operation Reference model was used. The outcome of this work is an identification of the information needed to support a transportation setup involving 12 participants. The study also revealed a mismatch between the needed information and the information actually available to the actors in the transportation setup.